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how common is it for docs to say they wouldn't do it all over given the chance?

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dedicate

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It seems that while some doctors love what they do and the life they live, you don't have to look long or far to find doctors who say they would not go into medicine if given the chance to do it all over again.

How do you feel about this question? What have your experiences been with other physicians as well?
 

DrJosephKim

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Surveys have repeatedly found that many (but not all) primary care physicians would choose a different specialty if they were given another chance to go back in time.
 

dedicate

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Surveys have repeatedly found that many (but not all) primary care physicians would choose a different specialty if they were given another chance to go back in time.
What about medicine in general? That was more towards what my question was geared towards. I have personally talked to numerous docs who said they would do something else. Oftentimes they mention their lawyer friends (I'm suprised how often this is cited) have it much easier and are done sooner, etc.

I tend to believe it's the "grass is greener on the other side" syndrome, but I am all too aware that it is not simply 1 or 2 physicians, but quite a few.
 

asmallchild

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What about medicine in general? That was more towards what my question was geared towards. I have personally talked to numerous docs who said they would do something else. Oftentimes they mention their lawyer friends (I'm suprised how often this is cited) have it much easier and are done sooner, etc.

I tend to believe it's the "grass is greener on the other side" syndrome, but I am all too aware that it is not simply 1 or 2 physicians, but quite a few.

I think we're talking "careers" in general. I have a similar # of friends who said they like doing x instead of what they're currently doing.

Doesn't matter if they're lawyers, doctors, accountants, investment bankers, etc...

Or as you so eloquently put it, it's the "grass is greener on the other side" syndrome
 

DOCTORSAIB

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I think there are unhappy people everywhere. I have many friends in law, finance, car business, IT, etc who are bored out of their minds or on the verge of being broke (and jobless) due to the economy. Many of them are fascinated by medicine and our day to day work.

What makes us so different (besides the years of schooling)? We have a sense of purpose innate to our profession! We heal. We teach. We lead. We comfort. We provide hope to your patients. This is a TREMENDOUS privilege given to us by society. And the money can be great too depending on your specialty, business sense and location.

So if you ask me, as someone who switched careers from banking, where I'm standing the grass is heck of a lot greener. ;)
 

Non-TradTulsa

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I think there are unhappy people everywhere. I have many friends in law, finance, car business, IT, etc who are bored out of their minds or on the verge of being broke (and jobless) due to the economy. Many of them are fascinated by medicine and our day to day work.

What makes us so different (besides the years of schooling)? We have a sense of purpose innate to our profession! We heal. We teach. We lead. We comfort. We provide hope to your patients. This is a TREMENDOUS privilege given to us by society. And the money can be great too depending on your specialty, business sense and location.

So if you ask me, as someone who switched careers from banking, where I'm standing the grass is heck of a lot greener. ;)

Bravo! I think we non-trads provide a very valuable perspective. Sure, plenty of doctors have periods when they say they want to leave medicine completely. I'd have to say from my own personal experience that those same docs are extremely surprised when they learn that, outside of investment banking jobs in NYC (until recently), $200K salaries are actually quite rare in the professions outside medicine - unless you're at the very top, and most people aren't - even if they used to be a physician. Not to bash my traditional colleagues - but, to me, it's just a fact - if you haven't worked in a profession other than medicine, it's difficult to appreciate just how priveleged a position medicine is. And, like Doctorsaib, I especially appreciate that my work is relevant every day - and very rewarding - regardless of compensation.
 

dragonfly99

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I think some of it is grass looking greener on the other side of the fence.
Appreciate Drsaib's insights.

However, I think it is true in a sense that law is "easier" in the sense that you go to school for 3 years, take the bar, and then you are done with REQUIRED training. If you choose to, you can opt to work at some high powered firm where they'll work you to death, at least for a few years, but it's not REQUIRED. Most attorneys-in-training don't have to work 30 hours at a stretch with no sleep every 3rd or 4th night for months at a time...at least not as far as I know. I don't doubt for one second that they work horrible hours at a lot of these big firms, but at least they can take time to urinate and eat a little...I had nights on call as an intern when I really didn't feel I had time to do that. So there are docs who look back on all this and don't feel it was worth it. Now, with my 20/20 hindsight, I feel that it was. I think that is true only because I have a lot of passion for medicine and I enjoy taking care of patients. I know there were one of two people in my residency who really already didn't want to be there,and I shudder to think what they'll feel like in 20-25 years.

One thing that is important to remember about medicine is that residency of at least 3 years if basically REQUIRED to do any sort of clinical job. You will likely work very long hours and you won't have any choice about that. Also, it's almost impossible in a lot of cases to switch from one residency to another if you don't like the one you are in. Ditto for medical school...transferring is inordinately difficult, or impossible. You will march in lock step and you will do what your supervisors want you to do, how they want you to do it, when they want you to do it, and you'll take whatever crap they want to dish out to you and act like you like it. Granted, that may be true in a lot of jobs, but ultimately, most jobs are "quittable". Upper levels of med school and residency really are not. How are you going to quit med school in year 3 or 4, or quit residency, with 100,000 or 200,000 in student loan debt? Just make sure, to the best of your ability, that medicine is really what you want before you make that leap. Don't apply to med school b/c your family expects it or you just want the money. The job security is high and money is pretty good, but you won't get that money for 10 years or so and it may not be as good in the future as it is now...
 

GP123

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I have to say I love what I do. I love making a diagnosis, and I love explaining to patients and families what's going on, and I absolutely love it when patients get better and the look on the faces of family members or the patient when they are going home or at least well for rehab. In a weird way, even when things are not going well for pt, just discussing with a family and helping them in the transition is rewarding.

When patients take a turn for the worse, or something happens unforseen it is also sometimes one of the most difficult jobs to have, but at the end of the day or night, if I have done my best for a patient and his/her family there is something that feels good inside. You definitely need amazing people skills. That should go without saying, but sometimes it can be the difference between a hostile situation and one of understanding.

What I hate, absolutely abhor and will likely drive me out of this profession if it persists/gets worse is the legal climate. I hate wondering every day if something doesn't turn out to the satisfaction of the patient or family, will I get sued.

I also don't like sometimes the lack of team communication about patients. In the private setting, it seems everyone has input (consultants etc) and just do things to the patient (procedures etc) without discussing with the other physicians or at least the internist. I think though that's me being weak and not assertive in "captaining" the patient's care and also since I am working as a hospitalist and not the patient's primary physician. I think if the legal climate didn't exist, this wouldn't be so much a problem. Though I am going for fellowship training in 1 year, I hope to always retain the knowledge of a general internist.

But overall it's an honorable profession that carries a lot of responsibility. It's tough but can be extremely rewarding to the soul.
 
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